Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro speaks during a news conference at Miraflores Palace in March 2020 [File: Manaure Quintero/Reuters]

The government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has committed systematic human rights violations including killings and torture amounting to crimes against humanity, United Nations investigators said in a report on Wednesday.

Reasonable grounds existed to believe that Maduro and his interior and defence ministers ordered or contributed to the crimes documented in the report to silence opposition, the investigators said.

Specifically, they had information indicating Maduro ordered the director of the national intelligence service SEBIN to detain opponents “without judicial order”, Francisco Cox of the UN fact-finding mission told a news briefing.

The report was based on more than 270 interviews with victims, witnesses, former

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